Explore the life and legacy of Alexander the Great in the company of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert on this unique history tour. Making your base  in Thessaloniki, discover the capital of Greek Macedonia and the setting of Alexander's youth, plus spend a day in Athens, center of the Hellenistic world. 

Starting at: $5,495 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Equestrian statue of Alexander the Great astride Bucephalus, Thessaloniki  The Acropolis of Athens  The Parthenon, on the Acropolis   The caryatids on the Temple of Erechtheion on the Acropolis   View of the Acropolis, Athens  View of the Plaka, Athens  Panorama of Athens  Relief in Thessaloniki, likely of Alexander the Great  The Citadel, Thessaloniki  Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki  Detail, Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki  Church of the Rotunda, Thessaloniki  Mosaics in the Church of the Dome, Thessaloniki  Tomb of King Philip II, Ancient Aigai  Roman site of Pella, birthplace and capital of Alexander the Great  Excavation site at Pella  Mosaic floor at the Roman site of Pella

In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great

9 days from $5,495

Explore the life and legacy of Alexander the Great in the company of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert on this unique history tour. Making your base  in Thessaloniki, discover the capital of Greek Macedonia and the setting of Alexander's youth, plus spend a day in Athens, center of the Hellenistic world. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

History and military buffs will be intrigued by our new Specialty tour on the life and legacy of Alexander the Great. Son of Philip II, king of Macedonia, Alexander succeeded his father at 20 and became one of the most significant military leaders in history, building an empire that stretched from the Eastern Mediterranean to Persia and northern India. His legacy of spreading the Hellenic civilization is still felt today. During this unique history tour, make your base in Thessaloniki to explore the capital of Greek Macedonia and the setting of Alexander’s youth, plus spend a day in Athens, center of the Hellenistic world.

Highlights Include

  • Athens: Be immersed in the essence of Greece with visits to the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, and take a special tour of the Agora with a renowned local expert.
  • Alexander and Philip II: Travel to Pella, Alexander’s birthplace and capital, and to Mieza where you’ll walk amid archaeological sites that include the School of Aristotle (tutor to Alexander) and ancient Macedonian tombs. In modern Vergina, visit the state-of-the-art underground museum and royal tombs, including that of Philip II. A local archaeologist adds insight at both sites.
  • Thessaloniki: Gain insight into this city’s Greek, Roman, and Byzantine history from a professor of history and architecture. Explore an impressive collection of Hellenistic artifacts at the Archaeological Museum, view the Roman Arch of Galerius, and Byzantine churches and monasteries.
  • Philippi: Visit this important city, founded by Philip II, which was the site where Saint Paul established the first Christian community in Europe.

Itinerary

Days 1- 2 — Depart the U.S. / Welcome to Athens

Depart the U.S., and upon arriving in Athens the next day transfer to your hotel. This evening, gather wiht fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for a welcome reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 3 — The Acropolis

Get an ideal overview of the Acropolis by first visiting the Acropolis Museum, where you'll view models of the Acropolis, the Parthenon Frieze, and the iconic bust of Alexander the Great. Continue to the Acropolis itself and explore its temples and architectural genius. Afterwards, relax over lunch in the Plaka, the old historical neighborhood of Athens. Then continue to the Agora, Athens’s ancient marketplace and the "birthplace of democracy," for a guided tour with Steven Diamant, a renowned local expert on ancient Athens. (B,L)

Day 4 — Thessaloniki / The Heart of Alexander’s Macedonia

Take a morning flight to Thessaloniki, located in Macedonian Greece and named in honor of a half-sister of Alexander. Settle into this modern city for five nights, the ideal base from which to explore the life and legacy of Alexander the Great.

Discover an impressive collection of Macedonian artifacts from the Hellenistic period at the Archaeological Museum. Continue to the Citadel and ramparts of this Byzantine city for an understanding of its ancient history. Plus, get an in-depth perspective of this city during a meeting with a professor of history and architecture. (B,L,R)

Day 5 — Alexander’s Capital

Travel to Pella, Alexander’s birthplace and capital, known for its recent archaeological excavations and fascinating floor mosaics. In Mieza, visit the School of Aristotle where Alexander and his companions were tutored, then tour Lefkadia, site of four Macedonian tombs with vivid paintings. Explore the town of Naousa before returning to Thessaloniki, where you will be joined by a local archaeologist for a discussion. (B,D)

Day 6 —Philippi and Saint Paul

Founded by Philip II, Philippi is also where Saint Paul established the first Christian community in Europe. Visit a 10th-century Citadel, the house of Mehmed Ali, who became Pasha of Egypt and liberated Egypt from the Ottomans, followed by the Islamic School, Imaret. Enjoy lunch in the picturesque harbor town of Kavala, then continue to Amphipolis, once an ancient colony, to visit its museum and best-preserved gymnasium. (B,L)

Day 7 — The Tomb of Philip II

Ancient Aigai, now Vergina, is where Philip II was assassinated in 336 B.C. Visit the state-of-the-art underground museum and royal tombs, including that of Philip II, discovered as recently as 1970. You will be welcomed by an archaeologist who has worked on the excavation. In Veria, embark on a walking tour to see Byzantine churches, the old Jewish Quarter, and the Bema of St. Paul. (B,D)

Day 8 — Byzantine Thessaloniki

Visit Thessaloniki in-depth today and view its Byzantine tradition as expressed in architecture, churches, and monasteries. Explore the Church of St. Sophia with its 8th-century mosaic, the Church of St. Demetrius, patron saint of the city, the 5th-century Rotunda with its well-preserved mosaics, and the Arch of Galerius. Spend the afternoon at leisure to explore on your own before gathering for a festive farewell dinner. (B, D)

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

After breakfast, depart for the airport and your journey home or onward. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)